Boxing with Jordan at Snap Fitness PW

For the past three months I’ve been taking the Monday night Boxing class at Snap Fitness in Pueblo West, CO. Before studying with Jordan I had no formal training and didn’t really know what to expect. I was training myself for the 22 Push Ups Challenge and looking for ways to increase my upper body strength.

Jordan has developed a method that is based on his own training. For the first few weeks I was the only attendee and was very fortunate to receive 1:1 coaching. That level of personalized attention gave me a solid foundation, and I got a taste of how intense that cardiovascular workout can be.

Once I got past the initial learning curve, my body started to acclimate to the sequencing of the drills. And it was very good for my brain to go outside of my movement comfort zone.

I’ve learned that boxing is like ballet, golf, and target practice.

In ballet you learn how to perform various sequences, or what I call “movement puzzles.” Once you put all of the pieces of a boxing drill together, the feeling of connection is much like the zen quality of archery or hitting a long drive.

That powerful feeling is pretty amazing, and when a drill becomes second nature it’s a lot like dancing. It’s also a form of mind-body exercise.

From the yogic perspective, high-energy exercise is an excellent way to engage with the manipura chakra.

In a nutshell, the manipura (a.k.a. solar plexus) chakra is the will-power center of the subtle body. When performed mindfully, exercises like push-ups, kickboxing, and core-work provide a physical way of engaging with this center.

Anodea Judith’s book, Eastern Body, Western Mind is a great resource for learning more about chakra psychology.

There have been days where I’ve had to tap into my will-power center in order to make it to class. Jordan is always very understanding when I tell him I’m tired and he adjusts his format accordingly.

But there are also days when I surprise myself by having more energy than I anticipated. It’s like I always tell people – it’s all about showing up.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

Aparigraha: Yoga’s Answer to Streamlining the New Year

Get Your Evolution On

22 Push Ups in 22 Days

I just completed my first 22 Push Ups Challenge. This viral campaign started in 2013 to raise awareness for Veteran suicide prevention. The number 22 is based on a VA study about the number of Veterans who commit suicide every day.

The 22 Push Ups Challenge is also for honoring military service members and Veterans. Various organizations promote this activity during the month of November to commemorate Veteran’s Day.

This goal has been on my bucket list for a long time.

The terms of the challenge vary, just depending on how each person chooses to complete it. Some people practice 22 push ups throughout a single day. Other people practice 22 push ups (and/or variations) at one time. While some people dedicate one day to the challenge, others perform 22 push ups for 22 days. Everyone posts a video of their efforts on their social media.

I’ve tried this challenge in the past and failed, due to a herniated disc injury from 2015. It took many years to rebuild my body, but through consistent effort I built up the strength to do ten triceps push ups in a row.

My goal was to do 22 consecutive triceps push ups in full plank position.

In order to more than double my number of pushups I had to do quite a bit of base and cross-training. Before the November 1st start date, I spent six weeks focusing on foundation. During the seventh week I increased my upper body training frequency by alternating my standard routine with Ballet Barre push up variations.

I also added some explosive strength training.

I started attending boxing classes once a week and also practiced on my own. This was my first attempt at boxing and it has been wonderfully challenging. I can understand why boxing is considered to be a form of mindful exercise.

In order to stay on course I used a training technique from my first 100 Days of Meditation marathon. I made a promise to myself that if I missed a day I would have to start over. I also made sure to stick to my clean eating routine and slept an average of eight hours every night.

You are welcome to learn more about my progress on my Facebook page.

Interested in taking your training to the next level? Book a free no-obligation consultation to discuss how I can help you reach your goals.

Teaching Philosophy: Emily Seymour

I am a firm believer in the value of alternative education. My parents were public school teachers and I grew up observing their methods. My father was a middle school music teacher and my mother taught elementary school. I witnessed their enjoyment of creative education, their commitment to professionalism, and their bureaucratic struggles.

Growing up, I was recognized as a gifted and talented student, particularly in the Arts and Humanities. I attended young writers conferences, Girls State, and participated in the Odyssey of the Mind program. I was a competitive musician, an active thespian, and studied with world-famous dancers. I feel very fortunate to have had these outlets, as I did not enjoy standardized education.

In high school I wanted to attend private school but that wouldn’t have reflected well on my parents. So I chose the most alternative private college I could find. No grades, no tests – just an opportunity to enjoy my favorite subjects. I took a leave of absence to apprentice with a master teacher and choreographer. Sharing dance and yoga with thousands of children ignited my love of teaching.

I became a dance major at a state university but my interest in Traditional Eastern Arts led me to another alternative college. At Naropa University I experienced a synchronistic connection to my education. Whether I was engaged in a Socratic approach to Survival Skills, practicing yoga infused with philosophy, or learning the nuances of Tai Chi, it all interwove to form a rich tapestry of immersive, creative learning.

My teaching philosophy is rooted in these experiences. I especially enjoy working one-on-one and with groups of students over extended time frames. My yoga training has strengthened my ability to support students and colleagues in a balanced way. I believe in the importance of being thoughtful, disciplined and attentive to details. I welcome opportunities to further develop my skill set while leveraging my background.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like: The Bowl of Light

Intro to Pranayama Training Course

“When the breath wanders the mind is also unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still and the yogi achieves long life.” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Excerpt from the Intro to Pranayama training course:

My Story

I started practicing pranayama ten years ago. I spent two years studying the techniques and theories. Before then, I’d received a very brief introduction to pranayama through drop-in yoga classes. The intricate breathing practices were interesting, but I was much more attracted to the physical practice of yoga.

When I decided to become a yoga teacher I started learning basic pranayama techniques. Honestly, I didn’t want to do it! I didn’t have much patience and foolishly thought it was too easy for me.

The truth was that the idea of meditation was a little terrifying. I had been working with an anxiety disorder and the suggestion to sit quietly with my own mind seemed impossible.

[Recommended Reading: Up to 67% of People Would Rather Receive an Electric Shock than Meditate]

There’s a saying in yoga: That which you resist is the thing you need the most.

Hindsight being 20-20, pranayama was exactly what I needed. As a kid I was diagnosed with asthma, so my lungs were already weak. A solid pranayama practice would have helped immensely. But my ego was getting in the way of my ability to take care of myself…

My yoga teacher could see that I wasn’t breathing properly. He insisted that I learn the basic techniques. I went on learn the more advanced techniques and over time the theories began to take root. Eventually, I began to experience the more profound, subtle effects of pranayama.

What did I learn?

Pranayama training gave me a great appreciation for internal yoga practices. I also respect the many health benefits of asana practice. Americans have explored this facet of the yoga diamond extensively, due to our appreciation of the athleticism of the human body.

But I will say this…

If you never go beyond the physical practice of yoga you are shortchanging yourself.

The best analogy I can offer is:

If you take a bunch of vegetables, cut them up and put them into a pot, pour water over them but never turn on the stove… and somehow, you’re expecting that it will transform into soup.

Obviously, that’s never going to happen.

The way to light the fire of yoga practice is through comprehensive application and cultivation of the internal practices. It’s absolutely essential to have a well-rounded understanding of all of the branches of yoga in order to make real progress.

There’s a popular misconception that yoga can be anything to anyone, which is simply not true. Not in the traditional sense of what yoga is – a path to Self-realization and union with the divine.

So let’s begin…

For more information please visit: Personal Yoga: Intro to Pranayama Training Course

 

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

Self Teacher Study – Freedom Yoga Immersion

Self Teacher Study – Find Your Yoga

Outdoor Fitness Classes – Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club

Outdoor training season is one of my favorite times of year. Navigating the weather can be a bit of an adventure here in Parker, Colorado. We get flash hailstorms all summer and it can get pretty windy at times. Which is a big reason why I’m so grateful to have a new indoor training space.

On nice days it’s amazing to train outside here. The sunsets are gorgeous and the skies are incredible. And after a long winter it feels so good to soak up the warm sunshine while exercising.

One of my local outdoor training spots is the Parker Norwell Outdoor Fitness park. Park gyms are a very cool phenomenon. I’ve seen a few of them in my travels around the country. This one was designed by the Barkholt family from Denmark:

During travels in Asia, the family experienced how the public outdoor fitness parks everywhere offer easy access to exercise, and the perfect supplement to the family’s walking and running routines.

This experience inspired the Barkholt family to develop their own unique line of outdoor fitness equipment, expressing the very best of Danish Design: quality, functionality and aesthetics.

There’s one piece of equipment that I really like – the curved pull up/stretching bars.

It’s perfect for practicing a full range of strength and flexibility exercises. A few of my favorite exercises include:

  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Flat Back Stretch
  • Hanging Spinal Stretch
  • Leg Lifts Series (for core and leg strength)
  • High Bar Stretching

These exercises are highly beneficial for all levels of experience. If there was one thing I could recommend that people do for themselves this summer it would be to train outdoors 2-3 days a week.

I’ll be co-hosting a series of small group sessions at the Norwell Park Gym and other local outdoor training spots. Contact me if you’re interested in attending a free seminar on how to do these exercises.

For more information visit the Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club’s Facebook page.

 

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

Park Gym Mandala

Never Leave the Park

Basic Goodness Summer Air

When Life Gets Busy Your Practice is the First Thing to Go

One could say that moving falls in the top five life challenges. I’d say that’s a safe bet, just based on the volume of time and energy that moving requires. When life gets busy taking care of ourselves loses priority. Fast.

It’s been a week since I moved into my new home. It still feels like I have a thousand things to do and I’m juggling so many balls in the air. I’ll be so happy when I’m settled in and can get back on track with my practice.

As I’m unpacking I keep pausing in front of the window of my new training space. We just had a late spring blizzard and the beautiful pine tree outside is covered in snow.

I watch as the sunlight begins to shine through the clouds. I’m daydreaming about practicing in my new home.

I had to sacrifice my own training quite a bit this month. It happens. Especially when your home is under construction.

When life gets busy your practice is the first thing to go. – Garrell Herndon, Bodyworker and Yoga Instructor

At times like these I remember some wise words from an Iyengar yoga teacher that I studied with. They always serve as a good reminder to be gentle with myself during times of high output.

I know the work is worthwhile. I’m just so incredibly grateful to have a home training space. It’s a long term dream that requires very particular dimensions of space. I am not a fan of the tiny house movement. Or low hanging ceiling fans. Or big pieces of furniture.  I like to move!

I’m getting close to achieving my dream lifestyle: to have a job that I love, to be able to focus on my practice, and create Personal Yoga retreats. I can’t even begin to describe how happy this makes me…

Living my Dharma, one day at a time.

Self Teacher Study – Personal Yoga Training Chart

A Personal Yoga practice gives you the freedom to practice anytime, anywhere. Practicing at home sounds easy enough but it can take years to cultivate your own intuitive, organic practice.

Needless to say, it can be challenging to self-direct your own practice. Having too many choices can feel overwhelming. Without a clear road map you might start avoiding your mat altogether.

When I feel overwhelmed I get organized. I keep a wire-bound notebook on my desk at all times.

I love making lists. All kinds. Grocery lists, “To Do” lists, long-term goal lists, project lists, etc. I love the satisfaction of crossing things off and throwing lists away. I keep the best lists.

Six months ago I started developing my first Personal Yoga training chart (feel free to expand upon it). This organizational tool played an essential role in my recovery from a herniated disk.

Create your own Personal Yoga Training Chart

Step 1: Free Writing

Start by free writing a page of notes. Write continuously until you fill the page. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Write about your goals. Write about any challenges you might be having with your home practice. It’s okay to go off topic, just keep writing.

Step 2: Movement Vocabulary

On a fresh sheet of paper make a list (!) of exercises. Think about your movement vocabulary. Which exercises will help you reach your goals? What do you enjoy doing?

[The key word here is: Enjoy. One pitfall to avoid is too much structure. Too many have-to’s. Not enough want-to’s.]

How do you want to move?

The level of challenge is up to you. You could include one or two exercises that you don’t necessarily enjoy but would be good for you. For the most part include exercises that you genuinely enjoy.

Step 3: Training Chart

On a third sheet of paper make a chart. On the left side of the page list all of the dates for the next month. Across the top of the page create columns for each exercise that you listed in Step 2.

The number of exercises is up to you. I recommend anywhere from 3-12. Your personal practice can be as simple or as challenging as you want to be. The idea is to pick exercises that you can see yourself doing on a day-to-day basis.

Tracking your daily progress is very satisfying. And a training chart provides you with a record of your efforts over time.

Off Days

Gaps in your training schedule are okay! It’s bound to happen at some point. Life gets busy or takes an unexpected turn. Be kind to yourself on your off days. Trust that you’ll get back on track as soon as possible.

Could you use a little help with with your budding home practice? I’d love to hear about your goals. Book a free no-obligation consultation today.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

Self Teacher Study – Mind Body Parkour

Personal Yoga Benefits

Personal Yoga Retreats

Personal Yoga RetreatsLast night I trained in a temple of clouds. The gentle currents of air mingled with the sounds of water. I watched two young mule deer peek their heads above the long grasses in the nearby field. In the distance a billowing cumulus tower ignited with flashes of lightning. The blazing sunset warmed my back as I moved and stretched my body.

Summer training season is here.

I love training outdoors. As much as I appreciate the privacy of an indoor space, as soon as the weather allows I like to go to the park, trail or playground whenever possible. In public spaces there’s usually an audience, but most people are nice. Like the elderly lady last night who said, “Thank you for the entertainment.”

Summer training season is a wonderful time for Personal Yoga retreats. These experiences replenish and refuel my whole being. It’s not just exercising – it’s the whole lifestyle. Eating alchemical food, feeling GREAT and laughing a lot.

Have I mentioned that I love my life?

Personal Yoga Retreat QuicheThis is not the kind of thing that you can teach in drop-in classes. It’s means taking a whole day to focus on eating, meditating and training. That’s my life – I create my own personal yoga retreats. I’ve been doing this for over five years now. I just enjoy feeling awesome and is this is how I do it.

It’s definitely possible to do this for yourself. You just have to carve out some space in your schedule and do some basic preparations, such as:

  • Clean the house
  • Clean and groom your body
  • Get your “to-do” list in order
  • Stock the fridge with delicious and healthy food

All of this will help to minimize distractions. Once you’ve cleared your slate start your Personal Yoga retreat nice and slow. Turn your phone off (or just don’t answer it). Cook with superfoods. Take some supplements. Drink lots of fluids. Move in ways that your body and mind enjoy. Rest when you’re tired.

If you’d like some help with designing your own Personal Yoga retreat I’d be happy to speak with you. I offer free no-obligation consultations in person, by phone, Skype or Facetime.

Red Rose Mandala

Small Group Yoga Training

Small Group Yoga Training

Let’s face it, exercising with friends is a lot of fun. We can learn so much about ourselves while being part of a team. And as life is moving faster than ever, quality time with friends and family is becoming even more of a priority.

Small group training is a wonderful way to experience the benefits of Personal Yoga in a supportive environment. Receive high quality instruction at an affordable rate, as you create meaningful shared experiences. Families, friends, couples and co-workers can form their own teams and work towards their shared goals.

Flying solo

If you would like to join a team simply request to be added to an open group. This is a great way to make new friends and connect with people in a positive setting. You might also choose to receive additional help through one-on-one training while participating in a small group program.

Small groups are small for good reason

Keeping the number of participants low makes it possible for each client to receive as much personalized attention as possible. Small groups are typically made up of two, three or four people.

How long does a training program run?

The ideal time frame for a small group training program is 5-10 weeks. You could start with a single session and if you decide to continue I recommend upgrading to a discounted package of five sessions.

Assemble Your Team


Some helpful tips on forming your own Personal Yoga team:

INVITE A FRIEND 

Everyone needs a little motivation from time to time. Give your friends a little nudge and share this post with them.

FIND A TEAM 

Ask to be added to a team that is right for you. We’ll connect you with people who have similar needs and goals.

Get Motivated


Read a few success stories from past clients on the Testimonials page.

Learn about the many Personal Yoga Benefits

Get Started


Start your Personal Yoga journey today. Sign up for a free no-obligation consultation: Book Now

Off-Grid Living

Mescal CanyonIt’s pretty amazing to be in Arizona again. The first time I came here was twenty years ago as an apprentice for an artist in residency program. This time I’m fulfilling a dream of interning at an off-grid eco resort. I’ve been learning about organic gardening and assisting with the operations of a family-run bed and breakfast. In my free time I dive into my practice and absorb the life force of this extraordinary place.

Since landing here a little over a week ago, the effects of unplugging from the electromagnetic matrix have been remarkable. The most noticeable changes have been from being in a larger living space. After the experience of an Agenda 21 micro apartment it’s been wonderful to stretch out again.

I am not a fan of the tiny house movement.

Free range humans need space to thrive and create. While micro-apartments may offer an affordable housing solution, the health risks are significant. According to University of Texas psychology professor Samuel Gosling, an apartment has to fill psychological needs such as self-expression and relaxation, which might not be met in a cramped space.

Rosemary

The Mescal Canyon Retreat has been a welcome source of peace of mind. A crime wave was sweeping through Montrose, Colorado, the likes of which had never been seen by its thirty-year residents. After hearing reports of numerous break-ins, robberies and attempted abductions, it was time for a change of scenery.

It’s wonderful to decompress in an off-grid setting.

My brain has relaxed in the absence of cell phone towers, wi-fi and smart meter radiation. I find that I’m less inclined to go online or use technology. I see phosphenes more often, and the low levels of light pollution make it easier to observe the Milky Way.

Sunset

My sleep schedule has changed. I rise with the sun and go to bed early. I shower and wash dishes with solar-heated water that’s free of chlorine, fluoride and bromine. Hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies skim over the flowerbeds during my meditations. I eat fresh pomegranates from the orchard.

Ayla

Furry friends.

Ayla and Moki keep watch over the property. Moki the Hound takes his job very seriously, and sometimes you’ll hear him chasing coyotes through the canyon. Ayla is a cheeky red fox in a dog’s body. She’s earned many nicknames, including Face, Furface, Foxface and Naughty Girl.

It’s been raining here (a much needed blessing for this area). Last weekend a downpour caused a flash flood through the canyon. For a few hours there was no way to cross the river or leave the resort. There’s nothing quite like being stranded to make you appreciate self-sustainability.

Being here has inspired me to offer Personal Yoga retreats for my clients. There’s nothing quite as wonderful as being able to dive in to one’s practice in a serene and natural setting. It’s an experience that I hope to share with as many people as possible. Let me know if you’re interested!

Trumpets